Take out your phone and look at the number of app icons you have. All those games, browsers, social media, newsfeeds, and shopping apps. It may not weigh much, but your phone is absolutely, unquestionably heavy when it comes to the amount of time and attention it sucks up from our day. For anyone looking for an antidote to the all-digital, all-the-time way of life, there’s The Light Phone.
The Light Phone II, available now for pre-order, is the anti-smartphone. But we’re not casting aspersions on its intelligence. If anything, this minimalist device is smarter than your smartphone. That’s because it’s designed to be used as little as possible. The Light Phone II works for you, not the other way around.
Light Phone II is not a throwback phone. It’s a thoroughly modern 4G LTE mobile phone, which arrives unlocked and compatible with AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Cricket, and Mobile PCS. (Sorry, not compatible with Sprint.) Light also offers its own plan, based on the AT&T network, with unlimited calls and text messaging for $30 per month. The Light plan is managed via a simple, easy-to-use dashboard website. It has no contract and is billed on a monthly basis.
It has full Bluetooth and wi-fi capabilities and a headphone jack. But it is not and will not be an Internet browser. It does not have a camera, images, or social media. That’s part of the beauty.
A simple, elegant design based solely on communication immediately draws you in. The Light Phone II’s screen is made of “electronic paper,” or e-Ink, like a Kindle. It has the advantages of low power usage and matchless visibility in bright sunlight. It also lacks the backlit blue light which is harder on your eyes and may cause difficulty falling asleep. Because the minimalist aesthetic is so on-trend, the stripped-down design of The Light Phone actually makes it appear ultra-modern, even though it lacks the apps you’ve come to expect from smartphones.
The team at Light has big plans in the near future for the Light II, adding other basic functionality such as music or hailing taxis. Currently, it can call, text, set alarms, store your contacts, and it has hotspot capability. The plan is to roll out new tools by the end of the year. The interface is simple and user-customizable, easily allowing you to add or remove tools as you see fit. The tools are completely optional. Remember, the name of the game here is simplicity. This phone is designed to be used as little as possible, allowing you to get your face out of your screen and back to interacting with the world around you.
Delivery of the Light Phone II is expected to begin by the end of November, going into December. It comes in two colors — black and light gray — and two different models, optimized for different regions of the world. The North American model is not optimized for overseas travel, and vice versa. It comes with a branded micro-USB charging cable but not a wall charger. It doesn’t come with a SIM card, but it is unlocked and compatible with cards from the carriers listed above. If you opt for the Light plan, a SIM card will be sent to you.
Finally, there is a viable option for us to jump off of the digital treadmill and step back into a simpler life, all without losing touch with the world. The Light Phone II is a phone for humans.